We all love food but if you’re like me then there’s a lot of room for savings to be made. There’s no need to suffer and endure months of beans on toast but by using some of these simple tips you can drastically reduce your food bill while still having great tasting meals.
Many of these tips don’t take too much additional effort and once you get into the swing of it it’ll be like second nature.
Takeaways add up fast. A couple of takeaways a week can add hundreds to your monthly food spend and although you don’t need to completely remove them from your budget you should find a way to limit them for the month. This means that before the month starts you already know how much you’ll be spending on them.
If you want to completely cut them out, then it’s recommended to start by deleting the apps off your phone. However, I believe the reduction is better than complete removal. If you do use the apps, then be sure to be subscribed to their mailing lists so you’re up to date on the latest discount codes and offers so you can save the most money on your order.
Meal replacement isn’t as bad as it sounds. A few years ago, this would be a bad tasting shake but this industry has come a long way and has become a key part of my diet. It’s great if you’re having a busy day or just don’t feel like cooking so it’s a great way to avoid ordering a takeaway.
Huel offer extremely good value and their meals contain all the carbs, protein, fibre, fats and 26 vitamins and minerals you need from a normal balanced meal. When it comes to price it’s also extremely affordable starting at £1.32 per meal which is considerably cheaper than any other meal you try to create with the same level of nutrients.
Avoid Convenience Stores
Convenience stores seem to be on every corner especially in larger cities but it’s a well-known fact that even the same company will have higher prices for the same product in their mini store versus the price in their supermarkets.
Of course, there are times when it’s completely unavoidable if you run out of a certain ingredient or product. In general, you should avoid doing your weekly shop at these stores as you will be paying a premium for the identical product.
Even worse, is these stores have a much smaller product range so you may be forced into buying brand name products when the store brand is often significantly cheaper. Add to this the busy nature of the store you’re probably spending longer queuing and waiting to be served.
Shopping online removes many of the distractions that come with shopping in-store when you’re prone to making so many more impulse buying decisions that will take you above your allocated budget.
If you shop online you can go straight to the site and order your items without the distractions that you’d get in-store. If you order the same thing every week you can complete your order without even browsing.
The time you’ll also save is a big benefit as you no longer need to drive or walk to the supermarket only to find out half your shopping list is out of stock.
Buy Frozen Food
Opting for frozen food is a great way to reduce your food bill because fresh food attracts a price premium. Fresh food also has a shorter shelf life so makes it easier to go off meaning that you must throw it out.
Frozen food does require a bit more planning when it comes to the meals you’re making especially if it’s meat as it’ll need time to defrost. However, the savings you’ll make can be substantial.
Because frozen food is cheaper means you can buy a greater quantity of it so you need to go shopping less frequently saving you time as well as money.
Don’t assume that because you’re shopping at one of the big supermarkets that you’re getting the best deals. It’s important to shop around the different supermarkets to be sure you’re getting the best deal.
I wouldn’t do this for individual products as this will take up a huge amount of time that probably won’t justify the savings. However, you should be comparing like for like shopping baskets between supermarkets.
The difference in cost may not seem much from week to week but when this is calculated over a year the saving can be several hundred pounds.
Have a Budget and Shopping List
Before you set foot into any supermarket, make sure you have a clear budget and shopping list. This is so you know exactly what you’re buying and gives less room to make unwanted impulse purchases.
It also makes your shopping experience better as you can navigate the store quicker and you won’t forget items. Having a budget doesn’t mean that your spending is restricted, it means that you know what your expense is going to be.
The budget can be as simple as having a list in your phone notes so you can bring it to the store with you. You should regularly check what food you currently have in your home so you only buy the items you need and don’t end up stocking up full price items especially if they’re perishable and have a short shelf life.
Eat Simpler Dishes
If you’re looking to reduce your food bill then you can simply lower the number of ingredients that you use in your dishes. Instead of using five different spices, could you reduce it to three?
Buy in Bulk
Most of the time the higher quantity of a product you buy, the cheaper it is per unit. This is why it’s very important to shop at larger supermarkets that will have the multipacks available or you may be forced into buying single unit products.
Buying in bulk not only saves you money but also the time as you don’t need to continually stock up each time you go shopping. Be sure to compare the multipack to the single priced unit to be sure that there’s a saving because this isn’t always the case.
Buy Sale Products
Similar to buying in bulk, take advantage of any sales for products that you normally buy. The key here is to take advantage of the products you normally buy. If you start bulk buying sale items that you wouldn’t normally buy then it’s not a saving, you’re just spending additional money outside of your budget.
Buying on sale is great for non-perishable products that you know you’ll always need such as pasta and tinned foods so you don’t need to rush to consume them.
Meal prepping is a method of preparing all your meals in advance for a set period. For example, on a Sunday you would cook and prepare your food for the following five day period.
This means that all your meals are ready to eat each day and you need to do no additional cooking. One of the main benefits is that you can buy your ingredients in advance and batch cook them. This makes your weekly shop a lot easier as you’ll know exactly what needs to be bought.
It also means that if you’re food is already prepared each day, you’re less likely to order a takeaway or indulge in convenience food.
Cooking batch meals are often also cheaper because you’ll be making it from scratch while having bigger portions.
Opt for Store Brands
Most of the time there isn’t a need to opt for the name brand version of a food product. Store brand products have come a long way and are now often compared to the traditional brand names.
However, the cost difference is significant throughout a full shop allowing you to save money on your food. If you’re someone who’s used to the brand name, I’d recommend first trying the store brand alternative so you can see the difference because you’ll be surprised.
You don’t have to move right down to the cheapest version but you can first move down a brand level to test the waters.
Use The Reduced Section
Once you get used to navigating your supermarket you’ll quickly start to learn what time the products start to fill up the reduced section. This is the time you need to be quick to ensure that you get your savings.
This is especially great in the fresh meat section which you can then take home and freeze to be defrosted when it’s ready to be used. Remember that it’s only a bargain if you’re going to use it, so don’t impulse random products just because they’re cheap.
Vegetables and fruit are also often on sale but this means that you need to use them quickly within the next 1-2 days.
Cheap food doesn’t mean bad tasting food! So, you can continue to eat tasty food without the hefty price tag.